A controversial U.S. anti-abortion activist who defied a travel ban to Australia is set to be deported from the country, but a federal court action has been launched to overturn the revocation of his visa.
Troy Newman was banned from entering Australia two days ago, but apparently defied the order and boarded a flight from Los Angles to Melbourne, where he was scheduled to address a rally on Friday.
Newman has previously called for doctors who perform abortions to be killed.
In a series of tweets on Thursday one of Newman’s supporters, Reverend Patrick Mahoney, said he was being deported shortly after landing.
“A sad day for civil liberties, free-speech and human rights in Australia. It appears Troy Newman is being deported,” Mahoney wrote.
Newman earlier announced on Facebook on Wednesday his visa had been revoked mid-flight.
He said he was "pulled off a plane in Denver and told I could not travel to Los Angeles" and then on to Melbourne, where he was due to speak on Friday night.
In a post on Thursday he said the revocation was "based on a pile of lies, including the idea that I promote violence".
“Through a chain of events the Lord has allowed me to get on a plane in spite of many objections by the airlines and Australia,” he said in Thursday’s post, which was accompanied by an apparent screen shot of an in-flight map.
“We have been in the air 11 hours and will land in about 4. Please pray that we can get past immigration so the truth can be told throughout Australia.”
His prayers weren’t answered, however, and he was apparently picked up by immigration officials shortly after landing at about 8am.
“Troy has been ordered deported and is now in jail,” Mahoney tweeted.
“It may take 72 hours. Stunned that Australia would do this.”
Newman visa was cancelled under section 128 of the Migration Act, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.
The airline that flew him to Australia faces a fine for carriage of a person who does not a valid visa.
“Since Mr Newman does not hold a visa, he is unable to enter Australia and remains in the presence of ABF officials at the Melbourne Airport pending his removal,” she said.
“An injunction was lodged in the Federal Court seeking to restrain the Government from preventing his entry.
“That matter is to be decided today.”